Post by benteeneast on Sept 25, 2010 10:04:34 GMT -5
Wasn't Picard assigned to the pack train?
Morris was with Reno and his statement would put Custer at a faster pace than the 4 mph used in some timelines. It would not surprise me that Reno moved slower than Custer at times based upon the terrain.
Post by benteeneast on Sept 25, 2010 10:22:01 GMT -5
How you move troops daily and go into camp and do it everyday is different than having a mindset that the Indians are on the LBH and have knowledge of your presence. You must get there before they leave or its all over.
Horses were the mode of transportation of the day and everyone used them. To try and compare how people today or even in the 1920 - 40's used horses doesn't work.
Are there any accounts of closing the last few miles (>10) that have time associated with them. That is the data we need and I haven't found any. My average driving speed to work is around 30 miles per hour. In a hurry it can be done in 24 minutes and code 3 less than 15. The distance doesn't change just my mindset.
In a letter dated August 1st, 1876, Pickard told his parents that in the morning of the 25th June he was leading Captain Yates’ spare horses, but “when the regiment formed for battle, the General ordered that all extra animals should be taken to the pack train”, and for that reason he was spared the fate of Company F. He does not specify the point where the regiment formed for battle, but he did so in the account he published in the Portland Journal on 1923. As per his heavily-embellished narrative, he was with his company (which marched in the van of Custer’s column) all the way down Reno Creek (Greasy Grass Creek in his narrative) and past the Lone Tepee and Separation Halt, leaving the column just before it crossed the North Fork, which Pickard supposed to be the LBH river. The possibility exists that he is exaggerating, and that he was attached to the packtrain in Halt 1 or more likely 2. In his favour it may be said that we know for certain he was Yates’ orderly on June 25, therefore it would make sense that the Captain did not dismiss his orderly and extra horses until he realized that the long pursuit was about to turn into a good fight, i.e., just after Custer despatched Reno to the attack.
Jose it would seem that Custer was way ahead of the pack train at North Fork would Benteen see Picard if he were bringing back horses? Steve
I suppose so, unless the characteristics of Valley 3 were such that for a time he could not trace a line of sight to the trail. But if Pickard was sighted, it was by men who left no written record. Pickard says nothing about seeing Benteen either before or after reaching the packs. He does say he left the packs “to try and reach my company on my own hook”, and had a 3-mile ride off-trail –“through ravines and over bluffs”– after sighting a party of Indians, probably Rees or their pursuers; “but thanks to my horse, which is an uncommonly good one, I was enabled to reach the bluffs where Reno had fallen back and where the fight afterwards took place”. These quotes come from his August 1876 letter, where he blames himself for his carelessness in leaving the packtrain, and which I think quite plausible. His narrative is not so, specially after having read the letter. In order to see everything and be everywhere, he makes blatant contradictions with what he stated in his letter, and to such a degree, that I prefer to think that he fell victim to the radical editing of a Portland journalist. Even so, I don’t think we should distrust technical data from the Portland narrative, specially if they are corroborated by other sources.
There were other led horses with the pack train or the rear guard. Pickard could have left Yates' horse with the led already already there. I can understand that a man might try to get back to his outfit in that situation.
“I had been riding at the rear of F troop, but now we were in company front, I was at the extreme left of the company.3 General Custer saw me there, leading the extra horse, and said to Captain Yates: ‘Better send that man back to the pack train with your horse. He can’t accomplish anything in a charge, leading your horse.’4 Captain Yates turned to me and said, ’Pickard, fall out and report to the pack train.’ This was my first Indian fight. I had heard the boys say how the Indians fled at our charge, and how, after he fight, there was always lot of beautiful tanned buffalo robes and beaded moccasins to be divide among the troopers. I hated to miss the first fight, and I hated missing getting my share of Indian trophies, Then, too, I felt my chances were much better with my troop than making my way alone back to the pack train. I didn’t know where the pack train was, but I knew it was many miles in the rear, and that the country was swarming with hostile Indians. I saluted and said, ’Captain, may I have your permission to exchange with someone in the company who is willing to go back? I don’t want to miss the fight.’ Captain Yates smiled and nodded in assent. One of the men in our troop, who was a new recruit, was a very poor rider and had gone over his horse’s head on various practice charges so I went to him and said, ‘Let me take your place in the troop and you take my place as orderly and take Captain Yates’ extra horse back to the pack train.’ He hesitated for a moment, and then said, ‘I’d like to do it, all right, but the boys would think I was showing the white feather; I guess I’d better not.’ When Captain Yates saw that the man I spoke to had shaken his head he told me to report at once to the pack train. As I started away, my Bunkie, a good hearted French-Canadian named Le Roche, said to me ‘All right, Ed; if you’ll have supper ready for me when we come back I’ll bring you a buffalo robe.’ I answered, “All right, Rockie; see that you get a good one,’ and trotted off.5 When I next saw my Bunkie he had been disemboweled and scalped and was lying with other members of F troop on the hillside. Captain Yates didn’t like to send me back, for he knew how disappointed I was. He said, in a very kindly way, ‘Too bad Pickard; but I guess you’ll have to go back.’ As I started on the back track, my fellow troopers started to cross the river, the river. I did not know it at the time, but we discovered later, that where I left them, and where they were going to cross, the river was impassable and that, discovering this fact, they had crossed the river some distance below.
“I had not gone over half a mile when I saw several Indians against the skyline. Just as I caught site of them they caught site of me and spread wide to intercept me. You can believe I stepped on the gas all right. I started as hard as I good go, and as I was well mounted I saw I was gaining and the Indians saw it, too. They fired at me and one of the bullets whistled close to my head. I surely thought I was going to get plugged. As I rode on at full speed I heard firing. In going forward to attack the village we kept away from the edge of the breaks above the river, so that we should not be discovered from the Indian village. When I heard the firing I rode about a quarter of a mile to the brow of the hill overlooking the river to see what was going on. I halted before coming up to the river to see what was going on. I halted before coming up to the upper end of the ravine and crawled the rest of the way to see if there were any Indians near me.
“From where I lay, on the crest of the bluff, I could see a long reach of the Little Big Horn river, across which was a level plateau on which I could see a portion of the Indian village. At the upper end of the village I could see Major Reno’s five troops advancing. The shots I heard were fired by Indians who were circling in front of Reno’s advancing command. It was a wonderful spectacle. The Indians, lying flat on their horses’ backs, were running at full speed across Reno’s advancing front, firing at the troopers from under their horses’ necks. There were only a few hundred Indians who were riding in scattered bunches, and there were also some on the bluffs across the river. Reno’s troopers rode steadily forward at a trot, without firing, toward the Indians’ lodges, may of which were in a heavy growth of cottonwood timber. As I watched, I saw Reno deploy his men in skirmish line, and a moment or two later he had them reformed in company line. They rode a short distance, when they were evidently given the command to dismount and advance on foot as skirmishers. I couldn’t understand what was taking place in Major Reno’s command, for hardly had the men been dismounted when I saw them once more remount and advance toward the Indian village. As they approached the Indian village I could see scores of little puffs of white smoke from the guns of the Indians in the woods. From where I was I could hear no commands, but I had seen Reno’s command first deployed in line of company front, advance a short distance, then halt, and then take intervals as skirmishers. I had seen them form once more into line of company front, and then I heard the bugle give the signal for ‘forward march;’ and then I saw the trot become a gallop and then a charge. It was a wonderful spectacle, for Reno’s five troops charged across the level space towards the Indian lodges in as perfect alignment as I had ever seen in mounted drill. The Indians, who had been riding in front of our troops, shooting at them, made a hasty get-away, so as not to be between the cross-fire.
“It was evident from where I was that Reno’s intention was to charge through the village, for as the pace of the charge increased the line lost its perfect alignment and I thought the troopers were going to ride through the village; but a moment later I saw that our men had ridden into a baited trap. Before starting our expedition we had been furnished with a lot of heavy American horses, which had never been under fire except at drill, and then had become unmanageable. In Reno’s command there were at least 100 recruits who were under fire for the first time. Reno was whipped at the first volley from the timber. I could see that some of the horses were bolting forward, others ran toward the bluffs, quite a few ran directly through the village. The indecision in charging upon the village had proved fatal. The Indians rode among our men like butchers in a flock of sheep. Our men seemed to be completely demoralized by the surprise of meeting such determined resistance. I could see the Indians riding after our men, shooting them in the back or clubbing them over the head. The boys told me afterwards that someone had given the order for retreat just as they hit the woods, another officer had countermanded it, and in the confusion that ensued it was a case of every man for himself."
In a way Pickard's account jives with Private Morris of Co. M who was quoted on the LBH untold story show that was on last night. Morris states that they dismounted and formed a skirmish line and advanced. Then they were ordered to remount and retreat to the timber. He states that his company (M) was the "last to mount". Implying that more than one company mounted on their horses before riding to the timber.
Pickard’s 1876 letter allows you to discard as completely false the most hard to swallow part of this story, the ride from MTC to Reno Hill. At that time he told that the perilous ride occurred on his return from the packtrain, and that there were troops on Reno Hill when he arrived. The ride from Custer to the packs was uneventful, so it’s likely that he left his company somewhere between the Divide Halt and the North Fork of Reno creek.
You have to pick through Pickard's account with caution. Some of it is far-fetched. One minute he's being pursued by Indians and the next minute he stops to watch the valley fight. Either through the ravages of time or just plain embellishments his story is highly suspect. One account has him with the pack train the whole time. I would imagine several officers had extra horses and left them with the pack train. Yates is the only one who brought an extra horse along? As they neared battle I would think other things were on Custer's mind than an officer bringing along an extra horse.
Speaking of Pickard: There has been some dispute over his first name: Edwin or Edward. His enlistment papers show Edwin but I believe his first name was Edward. This is on his tombstone and to me the family would not have allowed the wrong name on his final monument. They would have know what his name was. I had a lady in Oregon post his gravestone on my findagrave website on him:
You have to pick through Pickard's account with caution. Some of it is far-fetched. One minute he's being pursued by Indians and the next minute he stops to watch the valley fight. Either through the ravages of time or just plain embellishments his story is highly suspect. One account has him with the pack train the whole time.